Nemanja Matic is set to play for Manchester United against AZ in the Europa League on Thursday but Paul Pogba is not yet ready to return, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Matic, 31, has been sidelined with injury since a 0-0 draw with the Eredivisie side back in October.

The former Chelsea midfielder has been tipped to leave United in January, having found his place in Solskjaer's first-team plans come under threat during the opening weeks of the season, with Serie A clubs including Milan and Inter said to be interested.

Matic is due to be given a chance to impress at Old Trafford, though, as United go in search of the draw they need to secure their place as winners of Group L.

"He's fit," Solskjaer said on Wednesday. "He's due to be involved."

Solskjaer also confirmed "it's a bit early" for Diogo Dalot to return, the full-back having only this week resumed training, while midfielder Pogba is still not ready to play following a troublesome ankle injury.

"It's too early," Solskjaer said of Pogba. "We hope so [that he will return in 2019]. He's working hard to get fit so hopefully we can get him back on the pitch.

"Let's get Paul fit first and then back in form and he'll play loads of games. He's one of the best players in the world and we're looking forward to having him back."

In the absence of Pogba and Matic, Fred has begun to cement his place at the heart of the midfield, the Brazil international producing arguably his best performances for the club in the past week in the 2-1 Premier League wins over Tottenham and Manchester City.

"Fred's had the confidence of the coaching staff and me and the players all the time," said Solskjaer. "This form is down to him because he's been working really hard. When he got the chance with Paul injured he grabbed it with both feet and we're really happy to see him perform at this level."

Those two wins over some of United's biggest rivals have eased the pressure on Solskjaer, which had been growing due to his team's frustrating lack of consistency.

Solskjaer, though, insists the belief in his plans to rebuild the team has never wavered, while he felt the decision to take largely a team of youngsters to Astana two weeks ago paid off thanks to the Spurs and City results.

"Inside [the club], we've always had belief in what we're doing. It might change on the outside but it's results, you can't change that," Solskjaer said. "It's the nature of football. Sometimes, you've got the margins on your side.

"I think the decision we made to send the young players to Astana made sure the players who stayed here were more ready because it was a hard week.

"Results are always the proof in the end, but we've always believed in what we're doing it. It's going to be ups and downs, but we're on the right track. I see these boys every day in training, the attitude and skills they have got, so I'm not that worried."

United have already qualified for the knockout phase and need only a point to guarantee top spot in the group, but Solskjaer insisted he wants to beat AZ.

"Of course I'm bothered [about the result]," he added. "I'm not going to send the boys out and say, 'I don't care if you win or lose'.

"Every game you play for Man United is a chance to prove yourself and to me and the supporters that you deserve to be part of the team for a long time."

A man has been arrested on suspicion of a "racially aggravated public order" during Saturday's clash between Manchester City and Manchester United, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed.

During the second half of United's 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium, the visitors' midfielder Fred appeared to be hit by an object thrown from the crowd as he prepared to take a corner.

Lighters and a plastic bottle could be seen by the corner flag, while television footage seemed to show a supporter making racist gestures in the direction of Brazil international Fred and his team-mate Jesse Lingard.

Shortly after full-time, City released a statement saying they were investigating and threatened to issue life bans to any individual found to have committed racial abuse.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said: "A man has been arrested after a video posted on social media showed a supporter making racist gestures at the Manchester City v Manchester United match at the Etihad Stadium yesterday.

"At around 6.55pm on Saturday 7 December 2019 police were called to a report of a supporter making alleged racist gestures and sounds towards players during the Manchester City and Manchester United derby.

"A 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody for questioning."

Superintendent Chris Hill of the City of Manchester Division added: "I would like to thank the public for their ongoing support with this incident.

"Racism of any kind has no place in football or our society and I hope this arrest shows that we are taking this matter extremely seriously.

"We will continue to work with Manchester City and Manchester United football clubs on this incident and will investigate any other lines of enquiries."
 

A man has been arrested on suspicion of a "racially aggravated public order" during Saturday's clash between Manchester City and Manchester United, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed.

Fred hit out at the "backward society" we live in after the Manchester United midfielder was allegedly racially abused and struck by a lighter in his team's 2-1 derby win over Manchester City.

A City supporter appeared to make racial gestures in the direction of Fred and team-mate Jesse Lingard in Saturday's Premier League showdown at the Etihad Stadium.

The incident happened when Fred went to take a corner in the second half, with a series of objects also being hurled towards the Brazil international.

City released a statement to say they are working closely with Greater Manchester Police and have vowed to ban for life any supporter found guilty of racism.

Former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred confirmed he was hit by one missile and is eager for the matter to be dealt with but does not want to give attention to the perpetrators.

"Unfortunately we are still in a backward society," he told ESPN Brazil. "[It's a shame] we still have to live with that in 2019. 

"On the field I didn't see anything; I only saw it in the locker room afterwards.

"The guys showed me. [Someone] even threw a lighter and it hit me. I try not to care about that. I try to look ahead.

"Unfortunately, this is happening in some stadiums. It happened here, it happened in Ukraine with some friends. It's sad, but we have to keep our heads up and forget about that.

"We can't give them any attention because that's all they want. I spoke to the referee after the match, they will do something about it and that's all.

"We are all the same regardless of skin colour, hair and gender. We came from the same place and we all go to the same place when it's all said and done."

Fred was hailed by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his star performance against City, and the 26-year-old is grateful for the support he has received.

"Thank God I have a lot of friends here in the locker room who hugged me, like Lingard," he added.

"I don't want to think about [what happened]. I just want to move on."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed Fred's star performance after Manchester United won 2-1 away to rivals Manchester City in the Premier League.

Goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial set up victory at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with Nicolas Otamendi's late reply proving only a consolation for the champions.

A fourth league defeat of the season leaves City 14 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, while United are a further eight points back despite securing successive wins.

Fred's form has improved in recent weeks after some strong criticism for much of his United career, and he shone against champions City, who had also reportedly been interested in signing him from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The 26-year-old's display was particularly noteworthy given he was part of an unsavoury incident in the second half, in which he was hit by a missile thrown from the crowd and appeared to be subjected to alleged racist abuse.

"[He was] Arguably man of the match today," Solskjaer told reporters of the Brazil international. 

"He took the ball, he's playing against Kevin De Bruyne, probably the best player in the league and I thought he was excellent.

"It's great to see it; the boy deserves it. But when you get a run and keep the team together, Scott [McTominay] and Fred have made a great partnership."

The game was overshadowed by those second-half scenes when United had won a corner, with Fred hit after several items were thrown to the pitch, while he and team-mate Jesse Lingard appeared to be targeted by abuse.

City and Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they are working together to investigate the incident, while Solskjaer called for a life ban from football grounds for any individual found guilty of such an offence.

Rashford was among the players to speak out over the incident, with United captain Ashley Young also posting on Twitter: "Should never have to post anything like this because I'd have thought it's obvious but racism has no place in football or society.

"Kudos to Man City for the swift statement, I hope the individual is properly dealt with."

The Fred incident will make the headlines, but Solskjaer was keen to highlight United's first-half display and the importance of holding on for a victory.

"I was so happy with the way we started the game," Solskjaer said. "The way we created big chances, we looked like we could score every time we had the ball.

"And the intent was there to go forward, every time we had the ball. It's not about keeping it or slowing it down; we go for the kill and should have been three or four-nil up.

"But then again, you're playing against the best team in the world, so you have to defend well.

"I think the way we had to prepare for this game, because you follow this team for three years, and they're so hard to defend against because they're so good, I'm very pleased with how they dealt with everything, our boys."

Manchester City are working with police to investigate allegations of racial abuse after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said two Manchester United players were targeted in the derby.

During the second half of United's 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium, the visitors' midfielder Fred seemed to be hit by an object thrown from the crowd as he prepared to take a corner.

Lighters and a plastic bottle could be seen by the corner flag while television footage appeared to show a supporter making racist gestures in the direction of Brazil international Fred and his team-mate Jesse Lingard.

Shortly after full-time, City released a statement saying they were investigating and threatened to issue life bans to any individual found to have committed racial abuse.

"Manchester City FC are aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures during the second half of the match against Manchester United this evening," their statement read.

"Officials from the club are working with Greater Manchester Police in order to help them identify any individuals concerned and assist with their enquiries.

"The club are also working with GMP regarding an instance of objects being thrown onto the field of play.
 
"The club operates a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life."

Solskjaer confirmed he had seen the incident and he too called for anyone found guilty of such abuse to be banned from grounds for life.

"I've seen it on video, of course," he told Sky Sports.

"Fred and Jesse in the corner taking coins from the City fans, first of all, so they've got to go away. Then there's this not-so-intelligent fella chanting racist abuse towards my two players.

"I hope City and the authorities will deal with it because he shouldn't be watching football again, not live anyway.

"We have to stamp it out. We keep talking about that every single week and it's not acceptable and he should not be allowed back into grounds. That's how simple it is."

Lingard tweeted after the match in response to footage of the alleged incident, saying: "Not even this idiot can ruin tonight's feeling, shameful behaviour, it may be the derby but there is never ever a reason to be racist!"

Anti-racism and discrimination organisation Kick It Out said it had "been inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals" and called for "swift action" to identify those responsible.

City boss Pep Guardiola added that he supported his club's pledge to take action.

"I think the same as the club," he told Sky Sports.

"I support the club. We are going to work to avoid it happening again."

Kick It Out have called for "swift action" after reports of alleged racial abuse during the Manchester derby, a match in which United midfielder Fred was hit by a projectile.

A series of objects including lighters and a plastic bottle could be seen by the corner flag as United prepared to take a set-piece during the second half of Saturday's Premier League clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Fred was then struck by another object thrown from the crowd before play continued.

Television replays of the incident also appeared to show a supporter making racial gestures in the direction of the Brazil international.

Anti-racism and discrimination organisation Kick It Out later tweeted to confirm it would be speaking to both clubs over reports of alleged abuse at the game.

“We have been inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals during this evening’s Manchester derby,” Kick It Out said.

“We will be contacting both clubs to offer our support and hope swift action is taken to identify the offenders.”

The body’s head of development, Troy Townsend, added on his account: “The evidence is clear for all to see. Let's not make excuses again."

Manchester United midfielder Fred was seemingly racially abused during the Manchester derby, with the player also hit by a projectile during the game.

A series of objects including lighters and a plastic bottle could be seen by the corner flag as United prepared to take a set-piece during the second half of Saturday's Premier League clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Fred was then struck by another object thrown from the crowd before play continued.

Television replays of the incident also appeared to show a supporter making monkey noises in the direction of the Brazil international.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks the return of Paul Pogba will be like a new signing for Manchester United and hopes the midfielder could be ready to face Tottenham.

France star Pogba has been sidelined since September with an ankle injury that required him to wear a cast and then a protective boot.

The former Juventus midfielder has spent time in Dubai undergoing warm-weather training to help his recovery, having played just six times in all competitions for United this season.

Solskjaer is excited to have the "world-class" Pogba back at his disposal and, while Sunday's visit of Aston Villa will come too soon, the United manager would not rule out the prospect of having the player back to face former boss Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham side next Wednesday.

"Paul is stepping up his recovery and let's see how soon he'll be match-fit and available," Solskjaer said following a youthful United side's 2-1 Europa League defeat to Astana on Thursday.

"He'll be like a new signing for us. He's not really been able to play for us and, when we get him back, it'll be like a new world-class signing and world-class midfielder.

"We want him back as soon as possible. Sunday? No. Spurs? I can't say now as I've not been home and seen him. Let's see where he's at when he comes back and he starts training with us.

"Nobody can doubt his professionalism, his willingness or desire to play football. He's a footballer and one of the best midfielders in the world. It will be like a new signing before the transfer window opens.

"Of course, we have missed him when he's been away but some of the players, Scott [McTominay] and Fred, have taken up that challenge and done well."

Solskjaer also hopes to see McTominay back to fitness in the coming days following an ankle injury.

"We hope Scotty will be back as soon as possible, but he's also back home and I've not see him," Solskjaer added.

"Maybe [he can face] Spurs, but hopefully [he will be back on] Sunday."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played down a January transfer spending spree at Old Trafford.

United have been heavily linked to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Leicester City playmaker James Maddison and Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland.

Mario Mandzukic has also emerged as an option up front following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

But Solskjaer is not anticipating a big window in January, aside from a couple of possible loan deals.

"It is not about 'x' amount of money [we have to spend], it is about who do we think will be good for the club in the long-term, not just three or four months," Solskjaer said.

When asked if Solskjaer's targets could be available in January, the Norwegian replied: "Probably not because that is the thing - it is in January.

"Not many clubs want to sell players that they would otherwise want to keep in January. Maybe one or two could be a loan deal but that is not a big money thing, it is just to help the team.

"But we are getting players back and we are looking at what can be available for us."

Solskjaer was speaking ahead of United's Premier League trip to Sheffield United on Sunday.

With Paul Pogba sidelined and fitness concerns over Scott McTominay, Solskjaer challenged midfielder Fred to fill the void following his encouraging performances for United.

"First of all, the price tag, that is none of Fred's concern, and it shouldn't be because that is just how football has gone," Solskjaer said of the Brazilian, who arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk for a deal in the region of £52million in 2018. "The prices nowadays, you think, 'Hmm' but the market today is different to what it was. That shouldn't be on Fred, that should be on us.

"Fred came in, he did well to start with. Then he hit a difficult period. Then when I came in, he found it hard, then he had a very good period. And now he is having a very good period again. He is showing what we saw in him."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed midfielder Fred would stay at the Premier League club.

Fred, 26, has been linked with a move to Serie A outfit Fiorentina just a year after joining United from Shakhtar Donetsk.

However, Solskjaer said the Brazil international was a key part of his squad, insisting Fred would get his chance as the season went on.

"He [Fred] is working hard and at the moment he's just behind Paul [Pogba] and Scott [McTominay] – who has done really well – and Nemanja [Matic], who hasn't been involved," he told reporters.

"August is the most difficult period to manage a big squad because there's only one game a week and everybody's fit because we've had pre-season, and everyone's ready to play.

"In September, October, November – when injuries come – that's when you have most of the games. So, he [Fred] will play plenty of football."

While Fred looks set to stay, there have been changes to United's squad, with Alexis Sanchez joining Inter on loan on Thursday.

Solskjaer admitted the Chilean's exit, and that of Romelu Lukaku – also to Inter – had left him short in the attacking third.

"I said on the way back from tour that we were still looking for one replacement for Romelu if he went," he said.

"We're still one down, but we just didn't get the right one and we didn't get the answer we wanted."

United make the trip to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez will attempt to put a forgettable start to his Manchester United career behind him after joining Inter on loan.

The Chile forward just never managed to find form and fitness after leaving Arsenal and has gone to Italy in a bid to revitalise his career.

It's safe to say United have not had a particularly good record when it comes to getting the best out of South American stars - although there have been a few exceptions.

Below, we rank the players from that continent to turn out for the Red Devils in competitive matches...

 

18. Rodrigo Possebon (2008-10)

Possebon squeaks onto this list as a Brazil-born player, even though he represented Italy at youth level.

Signed by United from Internacional in 2008, he mustered three league appearances before a fruitless loan to Braga and then a return to Brazil. He last played for Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

 

17. Radamel Falcao (2014-15)

Falcao, the man who tore through defences for fun with Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco, looked as though he had practically forgotten how to play football when he pulled on the red shirt at United, even if he did manage four goals in 26 Premier League appearances.

Just to rub it in, he returned to Monaco in 2016 and promptly became brilliant again.

16. Kleberson (2003-05)

A World Cup winner snapped up for approximately £6.5million - what could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything, it turns out.

Kleberson played 20 league games between 2003 and 2005 before being shipped out to Besiktas.

 

15. Guillermo Varela (2013-17)

Becoming David Moyes' first signing was probably never going to work out for the best.

Varela spent four years at United, two of which saw him leave on loan, before he went to Penarol to get his career back up and running. He now plays for Copenhagen.

 

14. Fred (2018-)

Like Sanchez, Fred was said to be a man coveted by Manchester City only for United and Jose Mourinho to get in the way. Like Sanchez, the £47m midfielder has proved to be a redundant presence in the squad, apparently not valued by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Unlike Sanchez, it looks as though Fred will get longer to prove his worth to the manager.

13. Alexis Sanchez (2018-19)

He had some moments - the winner in the comeback against Newcastle United, the FA Cup strike against old club Arsenal - but they have not exactly justified the reported basic wage of £300,000 per week.

Sanchez will hope to rekindle his career alongside good friend Romelu Lukaku at Inter - another player who could not convince Solskjaer of his worth.

 

12. Anderson (2007-15)

A combative, hard-working presence in the United midfield, Anderson seemed to have a peculiar habit of kicking the ball as hard as possible regardless of whether he was shooting from 35 yards out or passing to a team-mate behind him.

He certainly got a huge medal haul – seven major trophies in eight years, no less – but his crowning achievement at Old Trafford was having a song to the tune of Black Lace's 1984 hit 'Agadoo'. And, yes, he was better than Kleberson.

 

11. Angel Di Maria (2014-15)

His audacious lob against Leicester City showed the sort of quality he could offer United as a then-British record signing (£60m, according to reports). Sadly, in that same game, United collapsed to lose 5-3 and Louis van Gaal seemed to lose all faith in attacking football of any kind.

Di Maria never seemed to gel with Van Gaal, nor did he ever settle in Manchester, and he was sold to Paris Saint-Germain for a loss within a year. He has, of course, been exceptional in France.

10. Juan Sebastian Veron (2001-03)

Veron is another expensive Argentina star who scored a memorable goal in a 5-3 game for United - on that occasion, it was when they came from 3-0 down to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Veron was a good example of the right player signed at the wrong time. United still had great quality in midfield in 2001, when Veron joined from Lazio; within a couple of years, that strength in depth had evaporated, and the world's most right-footed footballer would have been a welcome addition.

 

9. Fabio (2008-14)

Whether or not he really was the most talented of the Da Silva twins, as was claimed, Fabio was certainly not the most effective in his Old Trafford career.

Although a full-back by trade, Fabio made two rather decisive appearances in midfield for United. One was in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal, when Alex Ferguson somehow pulled off a win with Fabio, Rafael, Darron Gibson and John O'Shea as the central four; the other was during a 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers on New Year's Eve in 2011, a match that convinced Paul Pogba he had no immediate future at the club.

 

8. Andreas Pereira (2011-)

A Brazil international born in Belgium, Pereira had a long wait to break into United's first team on a regular basis. Many supporters are still wondering when he will justify the patience.

The midfielder has talent, for sure, but whether he has enough to become a mainstay over the coming years remains to be seen. Solskjaer appears to be a big fan, so 2019-20 could be a crucial season for his development.

 

7. Diego Forlan (2002-04)

Forlan's best days were certainly after he left Old Trafford, when he would become a fine forward for Villarreal and Atletico Madrid. He retired this month to a general hum of respect and admiration.

United fans will always remember him for a winning double against Liverpool in 2002, but his talent was just a little too raw for him to establish himself in the north west.

6. Marcos Rojo (2014-)

Injuries, including serious knee damage, and a proclivity for a reckless challenge or two have dogged Rojo's past couple of seasons and may leave many wondering why he is so high in this list.

Well, it's easy to forget the important part he played in Mourinho's first season, when United won the EFL Cup and Europa League. Such was his determination to run through the proverbial brick wall for his boss, he asked for a banana to give him an energy boost while playing in the last-16 win over Rostov.

 

5. Rafael (2008-15)

A popular figure like his brother, Rafael simply offered more quality and consistency in the United team, his best season coming as first-choice right-back when they last won the league in 2012-13.

Van Gaal was not a big fan, so he was sold to Lyon in 2015, with whom he signed a new contract in May.

4. Gabriel Heinze (2004-07)

Although he was a touch heavy-handed with challenges at times - he really did like to lead with his elbows when jumping for headers - Heinze was an excellent player for United despite his second season being ruined by a major knee problem.

In fact, he would likely have stayed for longer had his place not been usurped by Patrice Evra, who was signed as cover following that injury.

 

3. Sergio Romero (2015-)

Okay, he has not played as often as others on this list, but Romero has essentially established himself as the most accomplished back-up goalkeeper in the world at United.

Hugely dependable when called upon, he was also first choice in the successful Europa League campaign of 2016-17 and kept a clean sheet in the final against Ajax.

 

2. Antonio Valencia (2009-19)

Some fans lost patience with him in his final few months, when he seemed to be phased out of the squad by Solskjaer with little explanation, but Valencia had a commendable career at United after joining from Wigan Athletic in 2009.

His decade at Old Trafford yielded two Premier Leagues, two EFL Cups, an FA Cup and a Europa League, as he marauded down the right flank as a wide midfielder and later as a first-rate converted full-back. He was the club's Players' Player of the Year twice, in 2011-12 (as a winger) and 2016-17 (as a defender).

1. Carlos Tevez (2007-09)

He's not exactly the most popular man in the red half of Manchester given his move to City in 2009, but even the angriest of Red Devils cannot deny Tevez's impact.

He spearheaded an attack containing Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo - one of the most fearsome United have ever had - and led Ferguson's side to two Premier Leagues, an EFL Cup, a Club World Cup and the Champions League in just two years.

All eyes remain on Neymar as Barcelona and Real Madrid continue trying to work out a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for the superstar forward.

Neymar, 27, is heavily linked with a return to LaLiga before the transfer window closes on September 2, but there has seemingly been limited progress.

The slow developments continue as numerous Barcelona players are either being asked for or offered to PSG, who know what they want from Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – PSG DEMAND VINICIUS FROM MADRID IN NEYMAR DEAL

PSG have told Real Madrid they will only negotiate for Neymar if Vinicius Junior is part of a deal, according to AS.

The LaLiga giants have already rejected a proposal involving Vinicius three times, the report says.

Barcelona are expected to be in Paris on Tuesday, according to Le Parisien, who report PSG have revealed what they want for Neymar.

According to the report, PSG want €100million plus Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele.

Barcelona are willing to offer a maximum of €170m for Neymar if it can be paid over two years, according to Sport.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United and Inter have spoken again and the Serie A giants are optimistic they will reach an agreement for Alexis Sanchez, according to Sky Sport. The difficulty in negotiations continues to be around the attacker's salary.

- Just what Christian Eriksen's future holds remains unclear. Tottenham have offered the midfielder a new contract but his representatives are unwilling to talk, according to the Mirror. Eriksen wants a move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona, who are yet to make a bid for the Denmark international, the report says.

- Mesut Ozil has been linked with a move away from Arsenal, but it seems the playmaker could stay at Emirates Stadium. Turkish Football claims Ozil will not leave Arsenal during this transfer window.

- Fred's time at Manchester United could be over. Fiorentina have offered €20m (£18.2m) for the Brazil midfielder, according to La Nazione. Meanwhile, The Times report Fred is expected to stay after holding talks with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Staying at Old Trafford, Nemanja Matic wants talks with Solskjaer after losing his first-team place, according to the Mirror.

- Merih Demiral's stay at Juventus may be brief. AC Milan and Juve are set to meet again regarding the defender, with the Rossoneri prepared to offer €35m for the Turkey international, who joined the Serie A champions for €18m last month. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, that would mean Daniele Rugani would stay in Turin and Roma would again turn their attentions to Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren.

- After scoring his first Chelsea goals, Tammy Abraham is set to earn a new deal. The Telegraph reports the Premier League giants are ready to offer the striker a deal that would more than double his £50,000-per-week wages.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Alexis Sanchez's attitude and challenged the forward "to come good" when he returns to full fitness.

Sanchez has struggled for form since arriving at Old Trafford in January 2018 and has been strongly linked with a move away before the European transfer window closes early next month.

The 30-year-old has managed just five goals in 45 appearances for United and has not featured since last season due to his Copa America commitments with Chile.

But Solskjaer shot down claims Sanchez has been told to train away from the first-team squad and said he expects the ex-Arsenal ace to feature heavily over the course of the season.

"Alexis is such a professional. He comes in working every single day, really hard," Solskjaer said at Friday's news conference.

"He wants to be part of this. These stories that he's been put in the reserves - of course he hasn't.

"He's part of our squad and he's a very good player. He's a few weeks behind the rest but he's very close to being part of it.

"We don't have the biggest forward line, so Alexis might end up playing a lot more games than you expect. We expect him to come good at this club. He's quality."

Brazil midfielder Fred is another player to have made minimal impact at United and did not even make the bench for last weekend's 4-0 win against Chelsea.

Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo were other high-profile casualties on the opening weekend, leaving Solskjaer to talk up the depth of his squad ahead of Monday's trip to Wolves.

"The good teams I've played in, we've always had a good keeper and a settled back line," he said.

"In Fred we believe he will have a big season as well.

"Every game is a puzzle because you have good players everywhere. Last time we couldn't fit Smalling, Fred, Marcos, Alexis and Jones into the squad of 18. It's a puzzle all over the pitch, but a nice one to have."

Arsenal's quiet transfer window seems to be about to spark into life.

Widespread reports on Monday claimed Dani Ceballos is on the verge of joining the Gunners on loan from Real Madrid.

William Saliba could follow him to Emirates Stadium by the end of the week, too.

 

TOP STORY - CEBALLOS BOUND FOR ARSENAL

Arsenal are close to completing the loan signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid.

AS report the midfielder could head to London on Tuesday for a medical, with Marca saying the 21-year-old is excited about the prospect of spending a season under Unai Emery.

Various UK media outlets have also stated Ceballos is not far from finalising a deal, while the BBC's David Ornstein says Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba could follow him to north London before the week is out.

 

ROUND-UP:

- Barcelona are to open talks with Lionel Messi to try to extend his contract beyond 2021, according to ESPN.

Jiangsu Suning have joined Chinese rivals Beijing Guoan in the race for Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale but must offer wages of £1million per week, reports the Telegraph.

- Fotosport in Turkey say Galatasaray have made an approach to sign Fred on loan from Manchester United.

- Inter are still eager to sign Romelu Lukaku and have offered Manchester United a choice of €78m or €55m plus winger Ivan Perisic, FCInternews.it suggests.

Ademola Lookman is expected to arrive in Germany in the next 36 hours to finalise a transfer from Everton to RB Leipzig, say Sky Sports.

- Marca claim Atletico Madrid would prefer to sign Real Madrid's James Rodriguez than Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.

- Atletico Madrid are likely to earn a total of €57m when Angel Correa finalises his move to AC Milan, Sky Sport Italia say.

- Corriere dello Sport claim Napoli are pushing to sign Mauro Icardi from Inter, with James Rodriguez poised for Atletico Madrid.

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing the Serie A champions to sign Tottenham full-back Danny Rose, according to the Daily Mail.

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